There are several kitchen cabinet stock types that are important to know about when redesigning your kitchen. Cabinets are generally sold at four different levels, and each level is more expensive than the last. As prices go up, you gain flexibility in design, sizing, and materials. Read on to learn more about the four different kitchen cabinet stock types. 

Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) Cabinets

You can find ready-to-assemble cabinets at a wide variety of retailers like IKEA, Home Depot and Lowe’s. All of the parts have been pre-cut to the proper size, any needed holes are pre-drilled, and they come in a wide variety of styles, finishes, and designs. The choices for RTA cabinets have gotten better over the years, so you can now find something to fit most aesthetics. In addition, the quality of RTA cabinets has been getting better, and you can find options that will last for years.

Buy these parts shrink-wrapped and ready for assembly. Don’t worry, instructions are included. In most cases, you can simply walk into a retailer, purchase the cabinets, and take them directly home or have them shipped to your house. However, it’s important to note that RTA cabinets still lack the durability and customization options that other cabinets have. 

If you’re looking for the most durable RTA cabinets, avoid ones built with stapled particleboard doors, integrated rail guides, or doors made of veneer. Instead, look for RTA’s with dovetailed joinery, full extension drawer guides, doors made from solid either plywood or hardwood and have finishes applied by brush rather than spray. 


RTA cabinets are a very cost-effective choice because manufacturers don’t have to pay for their assembly. The cheapest options start around $60 per linear foot. The drawers and cabinets are built from laminated particleboard, with flat panel doors, and unfinished elements. Some of the more expensive RTA choices can be up to $250 per linear foot. They are made from veneered plywood with hardwood frame faces, solid wooden doors, and dovetailed drawers. If you’re looking for oddly shaped or size cabinets, or RTAs with crown molding, you’ll most likely have to pay a little more. 

RTAs are such a popular choice because they’re so accessible and cost-effective. They’re made at a high volume, so any damage that occurs during shipping can be repaired quite easily, and they usually come with a limited warranty. You can assemble RTAs in your home with basic tools and parts and may be able to do this yourself if you’re handy. You may need things like glue, Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, wooden or metal dowels, bolts, screws and cam locks. In many cases, you can even hire a handyman on TaskRabbit to help you assemble your RTAs.

Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are purchased directly from a manufacturer in predetermined styles and sizes. Consumer options for stock cabinets can be limited, and usually range in price from $70-350 per linear foot. These cabinets are built in a factory and shipped fully assembled to you. Some larger retailers may also carry stock cabinets in their stores or can short order them for you. 

Stock cabinets can be a good choice because they are less expensive than custom cabinets. However, they are often built with better materials than RTA cabinets and tend to be more durable and aesthetically pleasing. However, because they only come in fixed sizes, it can be a challenge to get them to fit into the space that you need them in, which could result in lost storage space.

When choosing stock cabinets, look for boxes built from plywood with solid wood fronts and walls that are at least 1/2 inch thick. Higher-grade stock cabinets will have a more consistent finish and full extension hardware along with dovetail joinery and no use of staples. Stock cabinets generally start at nine inches wide and are sold in increments of between three and four inches. Wall cabinets are typically 12 inches deep while oven, base, and utility cabinets are 24 inches deep. 

Semi-Custom Cabinets

kitchen stock cabinet types

Semi-custom cabinets contain many of the same elements as stock cabinets with some more customizable options. They are often built from common stock components but come in custom sizes and finishes. Manufacturers will typically offer several step sizes so that you can find one that fits your space. You’ll also often have a choice in what construction materials and the finish for the front and door.

The greatest advantage of semi-custom cabinets is that you can often achieve the same look and feel that custom cabinets offer but at a lower price point – often between $100-$650 per linear foot. Like stock cabinets, semi-custom generally start at 9 inches wide but can come in increments as small as one inch. Depths can often be adjusted in one-inch increments as well to achieve the perfect fit. Semi-custom cabinets generally have a lead time of four to eight weeks after you order them and will offer a lifetime limited warranty.

Custom Cabinets

Customized cabinets are at the top of the line and offer the flexibility that some homeowners desire. They are built and designed to your specifications with plywood or solid wood, then sized. Indeed, they work around windows, appliances, or any other obstacle. 

Custom cabinets tend to be equally as durable as semi-custom cabinets, although top-of-the-line models can last virtually forever. Custom cabinets tend to be expensive, at $500 per linear foot and can easily climb to $1,500-2,000 per linear foot. Lead times for these cabinets depend on the complexity of the design and the materials. Assume 8-12 weeks at a minimum. Finally, ask your carpenter or contractor about the warranty.

Learn More About Cabinet Stock Types

Next up in our series is a piece about cabinet door types and styles. Stay tuned! Contact us to learn more.

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Comprehensive Guide To Kitchen Cabinet Stock Types
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Comprehensive Guide To Kitchen Cabinet Stock Types
What's the right type of kitchen cabinet stock type for your new kitchen? Learn if off the shelf, ready to assemble cabinets or something more custom are necessary for your project.
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